3 Jehovah’s Witnesses convicted in Russia amid crackdown

U.S. & World

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court has convicted three adherents of the Jehovah’s Witnesses of participating in a religion banned for extremism, the latest move against the denomination.

Russia banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2017 and since then has convicted 24 members, nine of whom are imprisoned; 27 others are in pretrial detention.

The three who were convicted Monday in the central Russian city of Karpinsk were given suspended sentences of up to 2 1/2 years.

“Russian authorities today are following in the footsteps of their Soviet predecessors,” Jarrod Lopes, spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses world headquarters in Warwick, New York, said in a statement.

The Kremlin has actively used vaguely worded extremism laws to crack down on opposition activists and religious minorities.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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